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Eating is an extremely important social activity in Spain. Barcelona is known for both its traditional and inventive cuisine — with lunch “rush hour” at 2:00 pm and a chic dining hour at 10 pm.

El Fornet is good spot for desayuno (breakfast) as it serves fresh baked goods and bocadillos. There are a number of El Fornet‘s in the city.

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Known for its traditional Catalan cuisine is Freixa Tradicio located in the Gracia district. Awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand, this restaurant has established itself as one of the city’s culinary institutions.

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When I lived in Barcelona years ago, my go-to place for excellent tapas is Cal Pep. Sitting by the bar with Pep at the helm, it still remains to be one of the best tapas restaurants in the city. And the never ending lines are testament to the quality of the flavourful dishes.

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My craving for authentic Paella Valenciana was more than satisfied with a dinner at L’Arrosseria Xativa. Set in a rustic family setting, this restaurant serves good quality food with a very familiar service.

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Although more common in Madrid, I did find one of the better churros places in Barcelona ten years ago at Xurreria Trebol on Corsega Avenue in Gracia. I dropped by for churros con chocolate and it was as good as I remembered it to be.

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Do not let the idea of Mexican food bias you one way or another when booking a table at Hoja Santa. Reservations are a must. This restaurant serves gourmet cuisine that utilizes Mexican flavours. This restaurant of Albert Adria and Paco Mendez has earned a Michelin star.

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During a day trip to Girona – by happen chance stumbled upon Restaurant Calderers that serve simple Catalan dishes, with good value prix-fixe lunch menus.

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For a caffeine break in Girona, the charming La Terra provides a wonderful view of river Onyar. I tried the Cafe La Bomba (espresso with condensed milk) while admiring the view.

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I stayed at the one-month old Ohla Eixample Hotel in Barcelona. Service at this boutique hotel was very professional and warm, and the rooms are comfortable. I also liked the location as it is in a convenient part of town, yet not too crowded with tourists.

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Designed by architect Daniel Isern

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Roof top pool

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Staircase

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